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Darrington Drives #5 Blazers Past OCC in Tough Road Test

OLNEY, IL – Although the Olney Central Knights came into the game with only 1 district win, they played like a team that could upset several teams in the District 16 Tournament. Vincennes need the 3rd 30-point night from Chris Darrington this week, and several big baskets down the stretch in order to come out with a 78-72 victory Saturday night.

The first two possessions looked like it would be smooth sailing for the Trailblazers. Two trips down the floor, two lay-ups by sophomore Romaro Gill, and a result of a 4-0 lead by VU. However, it didn’t take long for Olney Central to storm back. The Knights would rattle off 5 unanswered, and take a 5-to-4 lead early in the 1st-half of play. Hansen would answer with a 2-point jumper to give VU back the lead, but Olney Central would score 10 answered before the Trailblazers would be able to stop the bleeding. OCC led for much of the first-half, but with about 8:00 to play in the 1st, the tide began to turn. Darrington and Hansen tag-teamed baskets, and gradually worked OCC’s lead down. VU trailed by 3, 23-20 with 4:27 to play in the 1st before Hansen would score a tough basket inside, and add a plus one at the free-throw stripe to knot the game at 23. The next possession Darrington knocked down a big 2 from the elbow to give the Trailblazers their first lead since the opening 3 minutes of the ball game. Vincennes would take a 30-to-27 lead into half-time. Freshman Isaiah Tisdale scored 9 points in the first-half, while sophomores Chris Darrington & Nate Hansen added 6 a-piece.

Just as it had in the first, the second half started as if VU had weathered the storm, and would pull-away to a comfortable victory. The teams would trade baskets for the first 2 minutes of the half before OCC turned the tides by skating on a 10-to-1 run to give them a 41-36 lead with 17:00 left to play. Darrington answered with back-to-back baskets to pull within 1, but OCC would force the Blazers to trade baskets again for the next 10 minutes. For the Trailblazers, Chris Darrington was the answer, as he scored 8 straight points during this stretch. OCC again stretched out to a 7-0 run with 4:00 minutes to play. Sophomore Sehill Mouliom scored a tough lay-up inside, and had a huge tip-in to pull the Trailblazers within striking distance. Chris Darrington would do the rest. Darrington would put the game on ice by knocking down 5-of-6 free-throws in the final minutes of play, and scoring 28 of his game-high 34 points in the second-half to help #5 VU survive Olney Central 78-to-72. The win moves the #5 Trailblazers to 25-and-1 on the season, and 16-and-1 in District 16 play.

Chris Darrington, for the 3rd time this week, was the high-point man for VU. Darrington scored 34 points, on 13-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line, and pulled down 7 rebounds. Isaiah Tisdale also had a solid game, scoring 11 points, 9 of-which came in the 1st-half, and ripped down 7 boards.

The #5 nationally ranked VU Trailblazers will continue their road-trip in District play as they travel to Lincoln Trail on Wednesday! Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. EST! Go VU!

For full box score see: http://www.njcaa.org/sports/mbkb/2016-17/div1/boxscores/20170218_d8ex.xml

 

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